A Catholic Nun and Her Gay Cousin

Bustedhalo has just posted a fascinating conversation with Sister Bernadette Reis of the Daughters of St. Paul (full disclosure: a friend) and her cousin, Paul Mages, a gay man living with his partner.  Their candid conversation reveals a great deal about the how the church can better respond to its homosexual members.   Here's Sister Bernadette: "I do wish that when Church teaching is presented to the general public, for example, as in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or in sermons, that the language chosen could be adapted to the background of the audience. This way, what the Church teaches may have less of a chance of being perceived as insensitive."  Read the rest here at Bustedhalo.


James Martin, SJ

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9 years 4 months ago
Nancy, one of us has a warped view of sex and I don't believe it is me.  Sexual morality is for people, not God.  Any moral teaching that does not start with that as a premise is laced with error.
9 years 4 months ago
The concern of Sister Bernadette "what the Church teaches may have less of a chance of being perceived as insensitive" puts the onus on the audience to know what the Churc teaches.  The Church's language with respect to homosexuality ...this may be splitting hairs ...one should be careful to distinquish between the acts and the individual.  The Church does not condemn individuals who identify themselves as gay.  And, there is a distinction between cultural responses and a Christian response.  Cultural responses to an individual identifying himself as gay have adopted terms found in the Church's teaching that would, of course, be hurtful or unwelcoming to the person. These are sensitive issues and the Church isn't dumb about current cultural shifts.  To the point of sensory overload, we have been exposed to everything "gay." The love that dare not... is out of the closet.  Its not scary anymore; Bernadette and her cousin can discuss gay issues without either, or both, having a nervous breakdown about it.   I think its those, who live in today's culture, who should read carefully what the Church teaches; otherwise the Church vs Culture issue becomes clouded; and misconceptions do breed, in a not insignificant way, hurt feelings, damaged relationships, rejection, etc. that gays really do suffer, that are deeply felt. Responses should be compassionate and not judgemental.  This is difficult to do for some people. We've been taught forever that being a true disciple of Christ would be difficult.  We don't get to choose how our faith is tested; we do get to choose how we respond.  If we claim we are Christian, if we claim that we follow Christ Jesus, we have no other option than to respond with compassion.
9 years 4 months ago
We use natural law to determine what God intended.  If you use natural law without bounding it to authority (which defeats its logic) and instead use all evidence without priviledging the speaker, a natural law case can be made that God intended homosexuals to use their sexuality in a unitive manner in their relationships.  Only an appeal to authority and revelation leads otherwise. So, if the Pope endorsed homosexual conduct for homosexuals, what would the conservatives say?  (Never say never).
9 years 4 months ago
Michael, homosexual sexual acts can not be unitive and do not Respect the Sanctity and Dignity of the Human Person. God desires that all our relationships be Holy. God's intention for the Sacrament of Marriage is a Universal Truth not a conservative belief.  
9 years 4 months ago
Sexuality is a Gift from God, and the purpose of Sexuality is what God intended. We are made in His image not our own.
9 years 4 months ago
Jesus clearly defined, during His Sermon on the Mount, that to see someone as an object of lust is a sin against God's Commandment, "Thou shall not commit adultery." To define someone according to "sexual orientation" is a sin against God's Commandment, "Thou shall not commit adultery", from the beginning. We were created Male and Female and our only orientation should be to The Word of God. Perfect Love requires that we tell someone the truth about The Truth.
9 years 4 months ago
The inconveniet truth is that, prior to the Cathecism's publication, the idea that sexuality was a gift from God and that homosexuals were made that way was gaining currency.  The latest rumble was JPII's last ditch effort to hold the waters at bay.  Everyone needs to ask him or herself in their heart of hearts if they really believe that this will work?  As the law begins granting gay people the right to marry, the church will catch up, if only because Catholic parents of gay children will demand some kind of recognition of these relationships.  JPII was too traditionalist to let that happen.  Benedict XVI is more intellectually nimble.  We will see a rethinking during this papacy.


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